Mara North Conservancy Dog Project

The MNC Dog Project has already treated more than 2,200 dogs. The community is very positive about the program

Domestic dogs are an essential part of the Maasai culture and are used for guarding and protecting livestock from wild animal predators. The guard dogs thereby help reduce the human-wildlife conflicts, which are inevitable in areas where humans and wildlife coexists. However, the number of dogs in the Maasai Mara ecosystem is increasing rapidly and free-roaming domestic dogs now pose a real threat to wildlife by transferring diseases and chasing, disturbing and killing wildlife.

In August 2018, the Karen Blixen Camp Trust launched the Mara North Concervancy Dog Project (MNCDog Project). The program has been established to assist Mara North Conservancy and the local community in dealing with the challenges involved in having (too many) domestic dogs, including disease transfer, scavenging in villages, and dogs roaming the conservancy in pursuit of wildlife.

Surgical workshops

Under the project leadership of Associate professor, veterinary surgeon Rikke Langebæk, University of Copenhagen, surgical spay-clinics are being carried out twice a year, with the participation of veterinary students from Copenhagen University (DK), Nairobi University (KE) and Tufts University (USA). The surgeries take place in our temporary clinic in Mararienda, but on the last day of the 7-day workshop, the entire team goes in to the field to do castration surgeries in bomas located far away from the village.

The participating students also vaccinate against rabies, canine distemper and parvo-virus, treat against parasites and take blood and feces samples for health-related research. The vaccinations continue year-round with MNCDog Project’s local partners, Dr. Gabriel Turasha (VetAid) and veterinary technician James Nyatuni, in charge of this essential part of the project.

Links to individual workshop descriptions:

Workshop November 2018

Workshop May 2019

Workshop November 2019

Workshop November 2021

Workshop May 2022

Education

The aim of the project is more than a simple focus on the dogs themselves, though. By controlling the dog numbers and keeping the dogs healthy, the dog project contributes to the protection of wildlife of Mara North Conservancy. Finally, there is an important educational aspect of the project, in bringing together veterinary students from three countries, and by going to the local schools to engage the schoolchildren in the project, telling them about the importance of having fewer but healthier dogs, about protecting wildlife and finally demonstrating the surgeries on a toy dog.

Link to school visits:

July 2021

 

Maasai community positive about MNCDog project

The project would never succeed without local support from the community – a support that has grown considerable since the start of the project in 2018. This support is due to the successful results so far, but only partly. The main reason for the support is the valuable communication efforts by our local partners and ‘ambassadors’ in Mararienda, David Noosaron from the Mara North Concervancy (MNC) Landowners’ Committee and veterinary technician, James Nyatuni. Through talks and discussions in barazzas, church and school meetings they have explained the importance of vaccinating and de-worming the dogs and also the benefits of castrating and neutering. Finally, the local guides from Karen Blixen Camp, have contributed considerably by continuously telling their friends, families and visiting guests about the benefits of the project.
The constant awareness of the interconnectedness of elements in this project is essential to its success and long-term impact. It is not an isolated dog-health project, but a holistic conservation project.

 

Support

MNCDog project has its base at Karen Blixen Camp, who also supports with all the logistics.

Apart from the support from KBCT, the project has received donations from Animal Protection Denmark, Boerhinger/Ingelheim, Englund’s Fund, Ragnhild Bruun’s Fund, as well as a number of veterinary suppliers: Kruuse A/S, e-Vet, and Eickemeier.